Why We Must Ask: "R U OK?"
Article By: Angela Svarc 17/08/2017
"Are You OK?"
Three simple words can make a big difference in your workplace
The 14th September 2017 is a day aimed at inspiring everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and support anyone struggling with aspects of life. A lack of feeling connected with others can be a contributing factor to depression, anxiety or even suicide risk. The simple step of encouraging co-workers to ask each other “are you ok?” can be a powerful way to foster connection and break down the stigma of talking about mental health.
However, staff members also should consider how to ask the question in an appropriate manner and to be prepared for someone to say “No, I’m not okay.” In the lead up to RUOK? Day it’s important to remind employees about the best way to have this conversation, how to listen without judgement, how to encourage action and check in with the person to see how things are going. The RUOK? Day website has some practical strategies to follow at www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask.
Remember, some staff members can be nervous about or even dread RUOK? Day if they are suffering with mental health issues. It’s important that the day is approached with sincerity and avoids gimmicky approaches that can trivialise the serious things that some staff members are going through. It’s an opportunity to remind staff members that their workplace is caring and safe environment, and is genuinely interested in supporting them; not just on RUOK? Day, but all year round.
How can we help?
To help others, staff members also need to take care of themselves and be in a good headspace. A workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can be a wonderful resource for people who feel like they need to get some support. Whether that’s for themselves, or to get some advice in supporting someone else, speaking with an experienced psychologist is a great first step. SMG Health is a workplace EAP provider with a focus on using experienced psychologists and integrating physical & mental health for a holistic approach to wellbeing.
SMG Health’s EAP is designed to help manage staff mental wellbeing quickly and effectively with the utmost confidentiality. It provides employees with an opportunity to speak with experienced professionals in relation to both workplace and personal concerns such as:
- Relationship stress (partners, family or workplace)
- Stress, anxiety, anger or depression
- Conflict management, at either work or home
- Communication difficulties
- Grief and dealing with change or disturbing incidents
- Health and lifestyle issues
- Addiction issues
As well as assisting in personal development, such as building resilience, preparing for life changes and building mental strength through a range of mindfulness and relaxation strategies.
If you would like to find out more about our Employee Assistance Program offering, mental health workshops or online resilience and mindfulness programs that you can provide for your staff, then please get in touch.
For further information and support:
Heads Up: https://www.headsup.org.au/healthy-workplaces/for-employers
Black Dog Institute: https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
News Story: Why people suffering from mental health issues struggle with R U OK? Day